With the fewest points in the NHL, John Tavares and the New York Islanders have a western road trip to officially turn it around.
After putting up about 20 minutes of effort in a game that was a must-win, and seeing goaltending Jaroslav Halak put up another stellar performance in another frustrating loss, the entire season boils down to this. As it has in the past two years, one of the most pivotal points of the year comes down to traveling to the Western Conference road trip.
The Determining Week
As fans will recall, most prominently in the 2014-2015 season, the Western Conference road trip helped solidify the momentum they would carry forward. After a SoCal sweep in 2014-15, the Islanders cruised to one of the best November months they’ve had in recent history. This year, it could be the determining factor that separates them from a top five draft pick.
The Islanders’ backs are against the wall after yet another debilitating loss. They know it and so do the owners and management. If they want a competitive team that will retain any slim chance of making the playoffs they need to start their tear during the western conference road trip. No more waiting, no more consolation losses, no more excuses.
The Islanders are 2-4-4 in their last 10 and have to play Anaheim, LA (Anaheim and LA are back-to-backs) and San Jose next week. With both the refusal to make any staff changes at this time, including what appears to be nothing concrete on the trade front Garth Snow has come out in support of the team he has assembled. As quoted by Arthur Staple of Newsday:
“I have a lot of belief in everyone in that room. Jack, the staff, our players, I have a lot of confidence in everyone in that room. The great part about facing adversity is you see who rises to the top. It doesn’t always feel easy for our fans. When you face adversity, it’s great challenge, and I look forward to seeing who rises to that challenge.”
Additionally, according to Sports Club Stats (a website dedicated to tracking sports odds), the Islanders have a 3.8% chance to make the playoffs. Yes, it’s still technically not even 20 games into the season. However, these numbers do not lie. The Islanders have a chance, as slim it may still be to turn things around.
It’s more than evident now that Garth Snow and Jack Capuano have failed to not only put together the most competitive team possible, but to make the current players as competitive as possible.
The Islanders are a hapless disaster on the ice and fans are getting frustrated. The bandwagon fans that were quick to hop aboard during the Tampa series have dissipated as quickly. It’s not necessarily the losing that hurts, it’s when you see where the team was just
It’s not necessarily the losing that hurts, it’s when you see where the team was just six months ago. At worst, the Islanders were supposed to be a middle of the pack bubble team. They are currently tied for 29th overall in the NHL. The salt in the wound?
The salt in the wound? Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin, the two who made the promises of a “world class organization” and a “fifth ring,” have yet to make any public announcements regarding the status of the team. I can sit here and dissect exactly who deserves what share of the blame
I can sit here and dissect exactly who deserves what share of the blame for the Islanders woes, but it won’t push the Islanders higher in the standings (however therapeutic it might be).
So, it’s essentially 2013-2014 all over again, but with an air of much heavier disappointment. If the Islanders don’t win out the next week, all we can do is hope that 2017-2018 is the equivalent (or better) than 2014-15 was to 2013-14.
The clock ran quickly and the Islanders are nearly out of sand. The time is not tomorrow, not the day after, but now. If something is going to happen to swing this team into contention, it must happen before they hit the ice Tuesday.
Capuano, Snow, Ledecky/Malkin: Do something, and soon.